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The Women of 50 For 50: Sheila K. Bost

"I really believe that lawyers are important in so many realms of our lives...I want to see good leaders in our nation and in the world."

Sheila K. Bost is a psychotherapist and licensed family and marriage counselor in private practice. She is also a long-serving member of the Pepperdine University Board of Regents, which is the legal governing body and chief policy board of the University. Sheila's husband, Thomas G. Bost, served at Caruso Law for 16 years as a professor, as the associate dean of academics, and as an interim dean, before retiring in 2016. Both Sheila and Tom continue to be ardent supporters of Caruso Law.

What inspired you to become a partner in the 50 For 50 initiative?

Tom wanted to give to the law school and I agreed. We had a scholarship started at Seaver College when Tom retired as chair of the Board of Regents, so then we decided after his tenure at the law school that we would give to the law school. We also have a scholarship at Seaver College in the name of my daughter, Amy Bost Henegar, that is for women in ministry.

Why do you think it's especially important to support the law school?

It's important to me to support the law school because my husband is a lawyer, and I have a son-in-law and daughter-in-law who are lawyers who went to Pepperdine. I also have a son who is a lawyer who went to Vanderbilt University. I really believe that lawyers are important in so many realms of our lives, and my husband thinks that also. Everyone should get a fair trial. I also want to see good leaders in our nation and in the world.

How would you like to see the scholarship for the law school make a difference for students, particularly for women?

There are more women in law than there ever have been, which is such a good thing because when we came to Los Angeles and Tom was with Latham and Watkins, I don't think there were any women at the law firm at the time. The downtown social clubs did not allow women. I think we've come such a long way since then. I'm so thankful.

What are the challenges of coming up in a professional industry as a woman?

I see more men than women attorneys in my practice and I think that women are still finding their voices and still finding that people have prejudices. Hopefully, with this next generation there's going to be a huge change, and I think it's changing already.

I have two grandsons who are in college and they have such a different social outlook than was prevalent 20-25 years ago. I just think there's much more cooperation and not feeling that the other is less than. We really need to take each person and where they're coming from, and see them and hear them, and know their narratives.

Did you receive any kind of support or special encouragement in your own career?

I went to Abilene Christian University in Texas, then I went to University of Houston for a year, and then I ended up graduating from the George Peabody College, where I received a scholarship to get a master's degree at Vanderbilt University in speech pathology.

My scholarship at Vanderbilt was so important to me. That master's degree has helped me throughout life. I eventually went back to Fuller Theological Seminary for a second master's degree, and I almost did a third in theology.

What is meaningful to you about giving to the 50 For 50 initiative?

Tom and I both come from families that have donated. Our families were middle class people, but we both had moms and dads who gave to the church. My husband and I together felt like that was an important part of our lives. We were blessed more financially than our families, and so in addition to the church and other causes that we wanted to give to, we really felt that Pepperdine University was something we wanted to support. It is important for Pepperdine to continue to be diverse and inclusive as part of its Christian mission. I think that's been really a strength of Pepperdine and I hope that continues.

The Pepperdine Caruso Law 50 For 50 Scholarship Campaign raises funds in order to alleviate the burden of student debt and to reinforce Pepperdine's place among America's leading law schools. Many of the campaign's founding partners are women, which reflects a nationwide increase of women in philanthropy. The Surf Report is featuring the female founding partners of the 50 For 50 campaign and what it means to them to support this special initiative.

Learn more about the 50 For 50 Scholarship Campaign.